The Civil War began in 1861 with the attack on Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina. The first year of the war wasn’t the most violent, and much of it was spent preparing and building up for t upcoming conflict. It did however offer a glimpse of the fires that would eventually engulf the entire nation.
The first major battle of the Civil War was fought in the eastern theater. Manassas, Virginia between the forces of Union General Irvin McDowell and Confederate Generals Robert E. Lee and Thomas Jackson. The Confederates were victorious, and the beaten Union troops limped back to Washington. All hopes for a quick was were gone. Most of the rest of 1861 was spent training and rebuilding the battered forces of the Union.
In the West, most of 1861 was spent in a series of small skirmished within the Missouri area between Confederate and Union sympathizers. Major battles would not be fought there until early 1862. In the far west, Texan forces managed to take control of the Arizona/New Mexico territory.
In the Trans-Mississippi area the Union began to implement its naval blockade and prepare for the 1862 assault on New Orleans.